Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling has admitted that Pep Guardiola ‘warned’ his team at half-time about Leicester’s quality in their 6-3 victory over the Foxes on Boxing Day.
City were 4-0 up and cruising inside just 25 minutes thanks to early goals from Kevin De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez, Ilkay Gundogan, and Sterling himself.
But Leicester rallied after the interval and managed to pull it back to 4-3 with 25 minutes still to play. Aymeric Laporte gave City a little more breathing room soon after, but the victory wasn’t fully sure for the Premier League leaders until Sterling made it 6-3 in the closing stages.
“The manager warned us at half-time,” Sterling said afterwards. “Leicester conceded four in the first half but every time they attacked, they created chances.
“It’s disappointing. We just had to control the game. At 4-0 up, you have to kill the game. Leicester have some really good players. They didn’t get disheartened and kept going.”
Guardiola himself also said the possibility of a Leicester comeback was spoken about at half-time, although he didn’t expect it to actually happen the way it did.
“No [I didn’t expect such a second half comeback],” he said, via ManCity.com. “But even in the first half, we spoke about this at half-time, it was 4-0 and we were creating – but every time they had the ball they arrived in the final third and created chances.”
The win was an important one for City. It was a ninth consecutive Premier League victory, the kind of run that underpinned title wins in 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2020/21, and put the pressure on Liverpool to match them by at least temporarily extending their lead to six points.